Drakanda Forever! ‘Drag Race’ Season 11, Episode 2 Recap

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Another week, another attempt at watching a new roster of drag queens succeed or fail at challenges. In this episode, the queens were first asked to do their best at photobombing in a mini-challenge. Watching the queens get into “quick drag”, which means they only have a limited time to apply make-up, wigs and change into an outfit, is always hilarious and this episode doesn’t disappoint. If Drag Race shows you anything, it’s how make-up and clothing can truly change a face and body, moreover, it will show you how amusing it is when you only do it halfway. Or a third of the way. Maybe for some just a fifth.

Leading up to the mini-challenge, we saw the queens talk about the first elimination and it is clear that some queens (like Vanjie) are getting more screen time and more opportunity to share their unique views and characteristics. This will probably become easier as the group thins out, but it makes it more difficult to connect backstories and traits to certain queens throughout the episode. One of these queens is Silky Ganache, who continues to be deafeningly loud and tries a bit too hard to get her time in the spotlight.

During the mini-challenge, the queens who stood out the most were Scarlet, Shuga and Brook. While Brooke shared her win with Silky, it wasn’t necessarily the most deserved for Silky, since she didn’t exactly get into drag as much as get undressed.

For the maxi-challenge in this episode, the queens split up into groups in order to create two parodies of “black empowerment” blockbuster films: “Why You Gotta Be Black … Panther and “Good God Girl, Get Out”. In good Drag Race tradition, these parodies are not Academy Award material, but they usually manage separate the queens with acting talent from the ones without it. Just like some queens are always surprised that you have to know how to sew to be successful on Drag Race, some are baffled by the fact that they will have to learn lines and perform in front of the camera. With cues.

Adding to that, the parodies are always on the fine line of playing with stereotypes and being actually problematic, showing the true art of drag comedy and parody.

There are some good actors and performers on the show, namely Scarlet and Yvie, but there are also queens who make up for the lack of acting talent with their comedic timing, like Vanjie and Silky. The latter was also the subject of discussion between the queens and Ru, in a clearly structured reality-show-move, the host tried to feed the tension between the queens and Silky. It will be interesting to see how this plays out throughout the season.

The group that worked on the Black Panther parody showed some funny elements, albeit some awkward pauses due to lack of acting experience. Their film got a couple of great laughs and some queens stood out, like Plastique or Nina West.

The Get Out parody was dominated by Yvie and Scarlet, whose banter and energy saved some of the pauses and underdeveloped characters in the film. An honorable mention goes to Miss Vanjie, whose “cookie monster” voice as the “cool dad” is still making me laugh after the second viewing.

RuPaul showed off an amazing dress inspired by traditional African clothing, which, combined with her trademark big, blonde hair is probably one of the best looks she has ever worn. Ru, Michelle and Ross were joined by two celebrity judges, Bobby Moynihan (known for his work on SNL) and Sydelle Noel, who has worked on Glow and Black Panther.

This week, the category on the runway was: “What’s your sign”, giving the queens the opportunity to show the interpretation of their zodiac signs. Previous episode’s winner, Brooke, managed to create an inspiring look, portraying two fish floating on a dress that gives a liquid illusion with its material and a collar with elaborate patterns and structures. She was followed by Plastique, who showed a look inspired by the sign Aries, which was both simple and impressive. Her proportions were perfect, the different materials in her outfits matched perfectly and her presentation was graceful and with an ease that should make her competition nervous. Rah’jah, who was presenting the sign of Capricorn should have made more effort with the dress, however she did well with her make-up, giving her face animal-like features while still being glamorous. Following her was Nina West, who after last week should have used this runway to leave an extra impression. Her Leo dress was nice, with a few fire details which looked a bit undone, but was definitely outdone by her headpiece and makeup, her delivery was great, too. Another Leo outfit was shown by Honey Davenport, who did amazing on her hair and makeup, her dress, even though it was a simple ballgown, was gorgeous with its reflective material, golden thread and little details. While that didn’t scream lion, it was definitely a sight to behold. Shuga Cain’s Scorpio outfit was everything. A tight bodysuit with reptile-details, with boldly contrasted colours and a makeup and hair job to match the clothing.

There was a second Aries look done by Ariel Versace, who stayed in her color-scheme and still managed to create a unique and surprising look. The details within her makeup and the connection between clothing and hair was executed like a violet dream, but the back of her outfit looked unfinished. Silky’s Capricorn look was not easy to recognize and seemed like it was missing a few details to really express the sign it was supposed to represent. Yvie Oddly was a sight to behold: she showed a futuristic Leo-inspired look that gave of dystopian, post-apocalyptic vibes with Steampunk elements and monochrome colors. The special-effects makeup completed the look and made her one of the most impressive queens on the runway that night. It was on par with Vanjie’s look (she’s a f*cking Libra), who showed a gorgeous outfit, seemingly entirely constructed out of roses and material with the same color. Vanjie knows which colors to use with her skin tone and her make-up was perfect. A’Keria C. Davenport’s Pisces look felt like an echo of Brooke’s version, but played with bolder colors and a more classic silhouette. Next was Mercedes Iman Diamond, who presented a Sagittarius look, inspired by ancient Greek warrior uniforms and with little details like the bow and arrow and her headpiece. Her presentation looked easy and fun, showing her experience as a pageant queen. Last weeks lip-sync-survivor, Kohanna Montrese showed off a flowy look for her Aries representation, which looked a bit odd paired with the horns she used in her hair, plus she lost half her outfit throughout the runway. Another Pisces look was shown by Scarlet Envy, who looked like a dreamy, turquoise mermaid, using props and elaborate structures in her outfit, creating another fluid illusion.

The clear winners of this week were Scarlet and Yvie, who did well on the runway and in the challenges. As expected, Kohanna and Mercedes were in the bottom two this week and although Kohanna was a fierce lip-syncer, Mercedes deserved to stay.

All in all, this was a strong episode, giving some new queens to show their abilities and as the group is getting smaller, the competition is becoming more difficult.

Tune back in next week when we recap episode three!

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By Conny
Conny joined her first fandom at the tender age of three and somehow never stopped finding new things to obsess about and love. Her current love is everything Marvel, especially two characters who tend to be frozen at one point or the other. From Drag Race to Harry Potter or musical theatre, as long as it makes her smile (or cry), it’s probably her thing.
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